Tackling the shortage of skilled workers together – Comatec and Raute increase their expertise through a unique partnership model

Comatec and Raute increase their expertise through a unique partnership model

Comatec Group’s Industrial and Marine business line provides mechanical, electrical and automation engineering, systems verification testing, technical documentation and project management services to operators in industries such as paper, board and pulp, mechanical wood processing, the mining and metal industries, and shipbuilding. To strengthen its critical design expertise, Comatec has intensified its cooperation with one of its clients, the Lahti-based Raute Corporation.

Comatec’s services are always customized to each client’s needs – alongside comprehensive project assignments and solution consulting, Comatec offers engineering services, for example, also at an hourly rate. It is then common for a Comatec designer to switch to the client’s team for a limited period.

– Many of our clients are project-oriented companies where the workload varies a lot depending of market needs. This makes it difficult not only to retain experienced designers, but also to attract newcomers to the sector. To be able to continue to offer wide-ranging design expertise in the future, we have determinedly set out to solve the challenges related to the shortage of skilled workers with our client Raute, says Business Unit Manager Sami Rajala of Comatec.

Moving on from the traditional hourly contract model

For more than 15 years, Comatec has been providing a wide range of design services to Raute, a developer of veneer, plywood and veneer production solutions. The collaboration has intensified over the years, and over the past year the companies have been working together to identify ways to further increase their expertise, particularly in mechanical design.

To begin with, the conventional hourly contract model, where Comatec’s designers become part of the client’s organization, was done away with. Today, designers assigned to Raute work on Comatec’s premises and, if the work situation allows, also participate in projects for other client companies.

– For us, working with Comatec brings flexibility in resourcing and, in the longer term, also more knowledge capital to draw on. I think it’s really positive that designers also work on projects for other companies, as it gives them a natural opportunity to develop themselves, says Ari-Pekka Tiusanen, Engineering Manager at Raute.

Aiming to attract young talent to the sector

Comatec and Raute next plan to extend their partnership with educational institutions in the Lahti region.

– It’s clear that it’s difficult to take on demanding engineering tasks straight out of college. However, it’s important for us to ensure that the Lahti region continues to have engineering expertise, which is why we offer internships and visits to our production facilities in Nastola, for instance. I believe that in cooperation with Comatec we can offer varied and challenging assignments that will allow young designers to steadily advance in their careers, says Tiusanen.

– It’s important to get young people excited about the engineering field and this is a great way to do that, Rajala adds.

The expertise of Comatec’s experienced designers is openly shared with fresh talent, who also benefit from in-house training opportunities.

Tapping into a broad network of engineers through location-independent work

Comatec provides design services from numerous locations in Finland, Estonia, Romania, Poland and Sweden.

– In Romania, for example, we have a long track record, having established our subsidiary there back in 2004. In Romania it’s easy for us to attract talented people, as we can offer the group’s flexible working conditions with flexible working hours and remote working opportunities to our local employees also. The work is always coordinated through our main Finnish chief designers, Rajala says.

Design work for Raute’s projects is also carried out equally from several Comatec offices.

Executive Vice President Petri Strengell of Raute has high praise for Comatec’s ability to offer resources from different countries.

– For us, superficial things about the engineers’ backgrounds don’t matter – it’s the know-how that counts. As a global company, it’s natural for us to operate in international networks, and as telecommunications become more and more advanced, location becomes less and less important, Strengell continues.

– The same can be said for language skills: it’s great that we can employ international experts at both Raute and Comatec. The most important thing is to find the resources that best support our operations, Tiusanen adds.

Transparency essential to partnership

Tiusanen describes Comatec as a strategic partner with which close collaboration will continue in the future.

– Today, businesses need expertise to succeed. I firmly believe that with Comatec, we can continue to secure the availability of Finnish engineering expertise and thus develop and succeed in the global market, he says.

Marko Pennanen, Managing Director of Comatec Industrial and Marine Oy, also values the partnership highly, and appreciates in particular the open-minded attitude of Raute personnel toward new practices and operating models.

– It’s clear that our partnership works when we find mutually beneficial approaches. Open and active discussion will help us do that, he says.


Text: Marianne Valta

RAUTE IN BRIEF – Making Wood Matter

Raute is the partner to future-proof the wood industry. Our technologies cover different production processes with supporting digital and analytics solutions for engineered wood products. Additionally, we offer full-scale service concept ranging from spare parts to regular maintenance and modernizations. Our innovative hardware and software solutions are designed to support our customers’ efficient consumption of natural resources. In mill-scale projects, Raute is a global market leader both in the plywood and LVL industries. Raute’s head office and main production is located in Lahti, Finland. The company’s other production plants are located in Kajaani, Finland, the Vancouver area of Canada, Changzhou, China, and in Pullman, WA, USA. More information about the company can be found at www.raute.com.

Comatec Industrial and Marine Finland

Sami Rajala

Mechanical design

Business Unit Manager

+358 50 531 9995